Signs of Infection After a Tooth Extraction – Pain, Bleeding and Swelling
A tooth extraction is a minor oral surgery that is performed if a tooth needs to be removed for reasons pertaining to disease, trauma or crowding. If one of our dentists recommends a tooth extraction, you should know that it is extremely crucial to follow their post-operative care instructions in order to ensure proper healing.
Some instructions may include but may not be limited to avoiding the following for at least the first 24 hours after your extraction:
· Any food or drink with extreme temperatures (very hot or very cold)
You’ll be instructed to only eat soft foods like applesauce, yogurt, pudding, or mashed potatoes 24 hours after your surgery. In addition, you’ll be told to chew on the opposite side of the treated area and avoid using a straw— this is imperative! You will need to be extra cautious when brushing and flossing your teeth and rinse gently to avoid causing any damage to the extraction site. Be sure to know that in most cases a small amount of bleeding is considered normal following your extraction procedure.
The purpose of following these instructions is to reduce your risk of infection. However, sometimes infections happen despite our efforts to closely adhere to post-operative instructions. At Wells Family Dental Group, we most commonly see them in patients who have compromised immune systems.
If you notice throbbing pain that does not subside with medication, prolonged bleeding, a low-grade fever that persists, or increased swelling of the face, jaw, or gums, you may have an infection. Further warning signs of infection may include tenderness of the gums or discharge .
Similar to how an open wound can form pus when infected, the wound created when teeth are extracted and become infected can form pus as well. If an infection is present, discharge or pus that is yellow or white in color may form in the extraction site. If pus increasingly builds up, it can likely protrude in the mouth resulting in a poor or salty taste.
It is also possible that you may be experiencing pain, bleeding or swelling that is not an infection, but is an fact directly associated with a dry socket (alveolar osteitis). This is in fact a common complication associated with tooth extractions and occurs where a blood clot fails to develop properly in the tooth socket, or if the blood clot is tampered with and disappears. The pain occurs when the extraction site has bone exposed in the jaw rather than where the blood clot should be. Generally, after 3 to 5 days after surgery is when a dry socket can occur.
Additionally, if there are any bacteria present in the mouth or extraction site prior to surgery, a dry socket can likely lead to an infection.
In the event you believe you have an infection or are experiencing any pain, bleeding or swelling, you should contact our office immediately. Fortunately, your infection will likely go away after taking the antibiotics that we prescribe. However, if your infection is very serious, surgical intervention may be necessary.
We are often asked if a North Carolina health insurance plan covers all the necessary steps to eliminate the infection after a tooth extraction. The only way to know what an insurance plan covers is to run the insurance. We suggest contacting our office and letting our staff know what type of dental insurance you have. If you do not have dental insurance, we strongly suggest that you reach out to us to discuss our monthly dental membership plan.
Contact Wells Family Dental Group Today
At Wells Family Dental Group, we will do our best to help you prevent an infection after a tooth extraction. Contact us today at 919-266-5332 if you believe you are a candidate for an extraction or have any questions related to post operative care.